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Financial services firms waste millions on digital projects, research shows

Jes Breslaw, senior director at Couchbase

An inability to meet digital goals is endemic across the financial services industry even though it spends twice as much as most verticals on digital transformation, a leading application developer has claimed.
Financial organisations must adopt a proactive digital strategy or risk wasting millions, database specialist Couchbase has said. It pointed to its recent research showing that financial services firms are well aware of the digital imperative, spending an average of $42m on digital transformation in the year to July 2018, with a further $45m to follow over the next 12 months. Yet for all their digital ambition, said Couchbase, financial services firms still struggle to deliver.
Almost nine in ten have seen a digital project delayed, reduced in scope or even fail outright, it claimed, adding that at a time when the pressure on CIOs in the financial services industry to digitally transform is greater than ever, throwing money at the digital problem isn’t working.
“As the research shows, financial services firms are clearly feeling the pressure, and are prioritising their digital investments as a result,” commented Jes Breslaw, senior director at Couchbase. “But without a clear plan in place, the reality is that much of this money is being wasted. Our research found that a quarter of financial services firms believe digital transformation to be an insurmountable task, while more than half even said that fixation on digital has raised the risk of rushing into ill-thought out projects that just won’t deliver. Without a clear idea of what success looks like, it’s impossible to put the digital pounds to good use.”
Breslaw said reliance on legacy technology makes meaningful innovation almost impossible: “CIOs across the financial services industry struggle to deliver projects on time or according to the original scope – if they deliver them at all – because their legacy database technology can’t support them,” he pointed out. “Indeed, almost a third added that they’re adopting new database technologies more slowly than they should, since they rely on legacy databases so heavily. This should be a wake-up call for CIOs across the financial services industry. They need to take a step back and evaluate where they are and refocus their digital projects.”

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